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Policies and Procedures

4.49 FMLA Leave

Purpose:

This policy provides employees with the University’s practice for administering the federal Family and Medical Leave Act of 1993 (FMLA).

Policy Statement:

In compliance with the FMLA, the University provides eligible employees up to 12 weeks of unpaid, jobprotected leave annually for qualifying events under the act. Eligibility requires an employee to be employed for a minimum of 12 months for the University, Board of Regents, or State of Iowa and have worked at least 1,250 hours (approximately 60% time) in the previous 12-month period. The 1,250 hours consists only of hours worked. Use of accrued sick leave, vacation, compensatory time, unpaid time, or holiday time is not included in the calculation of the 1,250 hours.

All leaves qualified under FMLA  must be taken in accordance with Department of Labor regulations.  Employees may not waive application of the FMLA, and all FMLA qualifying leaves must be tracked as  FMLA time in accordance with federal law. The University uses a calendar year to track this leave. The  FMLA calendar year begins on January 1 of each year, and ends on December 31 of the same year.

Procedure:

Leaves must be arranged with the employee’s supervisor, who will collaborate with Human Resource Services (HRS). Leave requests must be provided to the employee’s supervisor or department head.

All medical documentation and certifications should go directly to HRS, and will be maintained in the employee’s FMLA confidential folder in HRS, in accordance with requirements under the law.

When notified of the need for leave, HRS will inform the requesting employee of their eligibility. If the employee is eligible, notice will be given of any additional information required as well as the employee’s rights and responsibilities. If an employee is not eligible, the University will provide a reason  for the ineligibility in writing. HRS will provide final approval for FMLA qualifying leaves.

HRS will inform the employee of leave time designated as FMLA-protected and the amount of leave counted toward the employee’s annual entitlement.

The employee is responsible for providing appropriate information when determining eligibility, consistent with Department of Labor (DOL) regulations, including 30 days advance notice to take leave when feasible.

An employee taking leave on an intermittent basis must provide recertification from their health care provider to qualify for the continual need for leave, on an annual basis.

Employees must use accrued sick leave, vacation, and/or compensatory time to remain in paid status while on FMLA leave. Paid time is to run concurrently with FMLA leave. All paid time must be exhausted, prior to taking an unpaid FMLA leave. Employees covered under a collective bargaining agreement

should refer to the current agreement as it pertains to the use of accrued leave and FMLA leave.

To assist employees in planning for paid and unpaid leaves, an employee should contact the Employee Health and Well-being Coordinator in Human Resource Services.

Health and Dental Benefits

Under the provisions of FMLA, UNI must continue to pay the employer share of the employee health and dental insurance premiums.  While the employee is in pay status, the employee’s share of the premium (if applicable) will continue to be deducted from their monthly paycheck.  If the employee is in an unpaid status 30 days or more, they will need to pay the employee share of the premium directly to UNI.  HRS will bill the employee for the amount owed. If the employee’s premium is not received within 30 days from the due date, UNI may cancel the employee’s coverage provided UNI notifies the employee at least 15 days prior to cancellation.  Coverage will be reinstated upon the employee’s return to active duty.

If the employee does not return to active duty at the end of their FMLA leave, they may be required to reimburse the University for its share of the health and dental insurance premiums.  The employee will

not be required to repay these premiums if they are not able to return because of a continuing serious health condition or other circumstances beyond their control.

Return to Work (RTW)

When an employee returns to work, the University is required to reinstate the employee to the same, or an equivalent position, with equivalent pay and benefits. The employee is required to notify their department at least two working days before the date they intend to return to work.

When the employee is able to RTW from leave related to their serious health condition, as defined by DOL FMLA regulations, the employee must present certification indicating their health care provider has declared them fit to return to active duty. Employees must provide RTW certifications to their direct  supervisor, with a copy to HRS.

UNI has the right to request a second opinion from an independent health care provider selected by the University.  If requested, the second opinion will be at the expense of the University.  If the second opinion does not agree with the original opinion, a third opinion may be requested, also paid by the University.  The third opinion will be final and binding.

FMLA & Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA)

If necessity for leave extends beyond 12 weeks of FMLA and is related to an employee’s serious health condition, as defined by DOL FMLA regulations, continued leave may qualify as a reasonable accommodation under the ADA.  See policy 13.15, Accommodations of Disabilities.

Additional Resources

Department of Labor Employee Rights and Responsibilities Poster
FMLA forms and resources


This policy is effective January 1, 2013. 

Human Resource Services, approved October 2012
President's Cabinet, approved October 30, 2012